Over the last 27 years half of the Reef's coral has been lost due to storm damage, crown of thorns starfish (which are flourishing due to farm chemical runoff) and coral bleaching. To make matters worse, coal miners now want to build the biggest coal mines in the world in the Reef's catchment and ship the coal out through the Reef's narrow channels.
This presents a dangerous double threat for the Reef. Firstly, to make way for the ports, major shipping channels needs to be dug out of the sea floor. Effectively tens of millions of tonnes of seabed – tens of millions of tonnes of turtle, dolphin and dugong habitat will be destroyed. Then these same tens of millions of tonnes will be dumped further out to sea, and closer and closer to the Reef. Re-suspension of this enormous amount of dumped material will occur during rough weather and float into Reefs for years to come.
The coastal islands, seagrass, estuaries and river mouths like Gladstone are nurseries of many of the Reef’s most loved fish, as well as the core habitat of turtles dugongs and dolphins. Dredging, dumping and plying those waters with thousands of coal tankers with huge propellers just isn’t appropriate.
New research shows that dredging to make way for coal and CSG exports in the Gladstone region of the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage area is likely to have already caused a major outbreak of diseases in turtles, dolphins and dugongs as well as seriously depleting local fisheries. Secondly, if these projects go ahead, the massive expansion of Australian coal would be the second largest new source of carbon emissions in the world according to a new study by Greenpeace International. As the climate warms, the Reef will face greater loss to storm damage and coral bleaching and would face permanent loss.
 The 27–year decline of coral cover on the Great Barrier Reef and its causes. Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), October 2012.
 Investigation of the causes of aquatic animal health problems in the Gladstone harbour and near-shore waters. Dr Matt Landos, Gladstone Fishing Research Fund, January 2013.
 Point of No Return. Ecofys, Greenpeace International. January 2013.